Funny And Embarrassing Stories About Medical Procedures
Can't There Be Dignity with Medical Procedures?
I am beginning to think there can be no dignity with medical procedures and have decided just to do what I do best - laugh it off! I recently had to have some procedures done because I found out that I had renal artery stenosis, and the story and comments below are directly related to that specific incident, though I'm throwing in a few from way back as well. Might as well get it all out of my system so to speak at once. In thinking further on it though, I'm thinking it should be mandatory to put some of these medical personnel through the same procedures - who cares if they don't NEED them? It would be good training - and let some of us un-dignified patients perform them! Maybe then they would have a look at how their 'care' is perceived to some of us more 'delicate' patients.
Photo Credit: Flickr by Frenkieb
My Biggest Gripe
I know I have a lot of them - but the biggest one of all is that I work in medicine! I have ideas and values about how things should be done and I believe first and foremost comes the dignity of the patient. Heck - in death for sure - but how about when they are doing procedures on you? Give me a break! Okay - I admit it - I'm modest. Get over it! If I had wanted to be a stripper or taken up some other exotic profession, I would be doing it. However, I'm not - I'm an old lady housewife who doesn't like exposing her body to strange people - even in an emergency. I can handle it - it doesn't mean that I want to!
When I first started having severe hypertension, they proceeded to start lining up test after test for me and the first stop was a CT scan. I wasn't concerned about it - except that I was having a lot of problems with my stomach at the time that all this started. Of course when I got to the hospital, I got the top-of-the-line evening wear called the hospital gown. I do not like having my rear end or anything else exposed and spend most of my time trying to make sure all points are secured just in case there is a windstorm in the hospital. In retrospect, I should have been more worried about my OWN windstorm.
This really nice looking male tech came to get me to take me back on the gurney so I could get shoved into the CT scanner and as my luck would have it, I was all gassed up and had nowhere to go. He was in a bit of a hurry apparently because the patients were stacking up like planes over O'Hare. If someone doesn't rush me, I can manage to keep from farting but as my luck would have it - sorry - your time is up, madam....PHFTTTTTTTT - it just couldn't be contained because someone was RUSHING me to transfer from the gurney to the CT table. Oh - you're surprised? Geez - stick around for the encore - and by the way - I REALLY wanted to do that in front of a cute young guy you twit!
Well, after that, I even dared to show my face again at that particular hospital. I had no choice - I luckily did not run into that particular tech again. I'm sure he was thanking his lucky stars. The next step though in the testing was the renal MRI and MRA - which I accomplished with no further gas explosions. He obviously caught me on a very bad day. However, then they told me I needed to come back and have interventional radiology on my renal arteries. Being a transcriptionist, I know these things and silly me thought it wasn't going to be a 'big deal' to have someone stick a catheter into my groin. I guess on thinking about it, anything being stuck into your GROIN probably isn't going to feel too swift.
I do have a very high pain tolerance though so that wasn't really bothering me. I met the doctor and had a pleasant chat with him while he told me all about how if they needed to, they'd put stents in to keep the arteries open and then proceeded to lull me into a false sense of security about how he was HOPING they would not migrate and go somewhere else - like where, doctor? Into like my EAR or something? Good God - it is a wonder people have any procedures whatsoever with all this information. I'm pretty much not left with a choice, so I said to him pretty much go ahead and do your thing - hoping he brought his A-game!
At any rate, next thing I know, I'm laying on my back on a table with about 5000 monitors above me - I always wanted to be on TV but this was ridiculous. Of course, I had on again my standard issue evening wear - the hospital gown and nothing else. There are all kinds of techs and doctors buzzing about looking busy - and all of them but one is male. I admit it - I am a very modest person - they practically had to cover my privates when I had my babies because I just don't think it's wise to show that stuff off! It's just me! Now that I'm an old lady, I especially don't want people I don't know gawking at that. Well, someone should have mentioned this to Sally Sunshine the Nurse I guess because before I could say 'hi, how are you doing? ' (which should have been HER line), this stupid pretty young Victoria's Secret model hoists up my gown and there I am lying stark naked for everyone to look at!
Oh my God doesn't quite cut it! I wanted fervently to smack the gown right back down - unfortunately they had placed my left arm in a vice called the blood pressure cuff which was going off about every 5 seconds it seemed and crushing what was left of my biceps. I pointed out to them that I thought I was being strangled by the blood pressure cuff but they assured me this was 'normal' (in whose world?). Back to Ms. Victoria's Secret - she whips out a razor as fast as you can say 'holy crap' and she is shaving - no one mentioned I was getting a bikini shave or anything remotely close to this - and of all things, she has the audacity to shave HALF! How am I going to explain this if I get into an accident? Do I get a card that goes with this shave? I am going to be looking like an idiot while this is growing out! The worst part of all was that she didn't even give me a second to adjust. Just whip up the gown, zip - hair's gone. Do we know each other well enough for this kind of intimacy?
At least she put the dang gown back down - and I'm turning beet red by now with all these people in the room - I feel like I've just been multilated and shown my private parts to a boatload of sailors! (Nothing against the other guys but come on - I expected a little wine and courting beforehand - NOT REALLY - but a little warning and leading up to it might have been a courtesy I could have used). If that wasn't bad enough though here she came again - this time she whips down the top. Oh GOOD - let's give them a good view of the old lady sagging boobs too while we're at it! Please - humiliate me a little more because I haven't been humiliated yet enough! I'm paying for this is what I kept thinking all the while! This new assault was in the name of putting the EKG monitors on me - if anyone was paying any attention, they probably would have noticed that I had 3 heart attacks during this process!
Whew - she covers me up again. By all that is holy, I'm so hoping that someone comes along and does this to her one of these days - and soon! She just goes nonchalantly back to her business like nothing ever happened - she never even SPOKE to me. How humiliating is that? I guess I got the distinct impression that I was just a number. Well, the procedure went on despite my embarrassment and no one seemed to notice. Thank goodness they were better at their technique than their manners - except for the radiologist muttering while he was threading catheters up my groin. Somehow, that just didn't make me feel very at ease. I was terrifically happy though to not hear 'oops' .
However, when it was all over, they deployed this device into my femoral artery that is supposed to stop the bleeding - not cool if your femoral artery is gushing blood so please - feel free. Again with the exposure - but this time I really didn't have a choice. Unfortunately for me, as would be my luck, the device failed. I heard the young male tech say 'uh oh' (never a good thing) and looked down to find him leaning over me with 2 hands on my groin. Now that is way too close to my you-know-whats for comfort - but again, what could I say? I felt that at that moment in time, asking him to remove his hands would NOT be in my best interests. However, as I'm laying there and he is exerting 40 frigging G's of pressure on my old lady GROIN, I really was speechless. Here we are - locked in our intimate embrace - and all I could think of to say was 'so - how about those Mariners ?' What the hell was I supposed to say? I guess nothing would never have crossed my mind. At least I have manners!
You would think that was enough of an event - but oh no - after 20 minutes of this guy literally standing on my groin, it still didn't clot so we went to the 'bonus round' - another 20 minutes of pressure - followed by an unbelievably huge device with a belt that went around me and exerted another frigging 40 G's of pressure on my groin. I think it was no wonder that my entire leg was bruised to almost my knee afterwards - but hey - they stopped the bleeding.
However, in the midst of all of this, since I was supposed to be out of the vascular lab way, way sooner, my husband is getting totally freaked out. No one tells him what is going on and he is pacing his little heart out in the waiting area. When he can't take it anymore, he finally pops in and who does he get but the Victoria's Secret model. When he asks why I'm still not out she reports casually to him 'oh - that's because they're trying to stop the bleeding'. BRILLIANT! She definitely needs to be working in medicine - and maybe one of these days someone will donate a brain and she can be the lucky recipient! My poor husband made such a scene that they finally had to send out a doctor - not to calm him but to explain to him what Clueless left out!
Moving on, my husband once had to have a lovely procedure called the barium enema, and since my husband does NOT work in medicine, I don't think he really understood the ramifications of the word ENEMA. It also happened that he was having this procedure at the hospital where I worked so he knew all the technicians, etc. Well, I for some reason thought he knew what they were going to do and didn't want to really belabor this to him so just kept quiet about it. On the fateful day, he showed up as scheduled and proceeded to go through his little test. I do not have words to describe what came out of his mouth when he got into the car afterwards!
Something like this - 'Did you know that they were going to come in and shove BARIUM up my butt - in front of everyone? And then did you know that they were going to tell me to hold it there? Did you then know that they were going to shake the table all about and jar me from one end to the other? And then tell me again to hold it? And then did you know that they were FINALLY going to let me go to the bathroom and expel it? And did you know that these people I have played basketball with and had beers with were going to be standing on the other side of the door while I BLEW UP THE ENTIRE COMMODE when all the barium came out? It sounded like a nuclear explosion in there!'
Well, when he put it like that I guess I should have brought it up! I just didn't think to mention the gruesome details! Then to make matters far worse, they told him after all that humiliation that the test was inconclusive - he would have to have a colonoscopy anyway! Ah well - see - it had a happy 'ending' so to speak!
Over the years though, I have never been able to accept these little acts of I don't know - embarrassment to the patient? When I had an ultrasound for my third child, the doctor came in and literally ripped the sheet off me and came at me with the transducer. Thank god that's all he came at me with but STILL - I didn't like lying on a cold table in the first place buck naked and when someone just walks in and whisks the drape off you - not polite! Like I said - a little wine, a little working up to it....at least tell someone what you are going to do before you put them in a very awkward position!
I had another doctor barge into my bathroom in the maternity ward and start talking to me - while I was trying to pee! I don't pee in front of people! I especially don't want people gawking at me while I'm doing 'that'. GOOD GRIEF! He became highly indignant when I asked him to please step outside because I simply could not go if he was going to be in there! He called me ridiculous and overly modest but then later when I emerged, I asked him if it would be okay if I came into the bathroom with him and carried on a conversation with him at the urinal - not so funny then is it, pal? Like I'd be able to do it without fainting.
Summing It Up
I realize that medicine is a tough business - it is hard to meet and greet complete strangers and look at personal parts of their bodies - and not throw up sometimes. Or it must be hard on the nerves to work on people and do intimate things to them without acting scared or horrified that you've just cut the wrong thing for instance!
It's probably not fun either to deal with sagging bodies, flatulent old ladies, and people who are terrified of having anyone do 'things' to their bodies - but come on. Dignity should start WAY before dying - we are not inanimate objects here. We are feeling, breathing people - we were before we came in to have a procedure and we are still people while we are having said procedure. At least have the common courtesy to think 'what if I was lying on this table - how would I want someone to treat me?' And they probably better hope I don't decide to change professions at this late date and become a nurse - watch out if I happen to recognize some of them!
ER Video Part 2
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